Eris Baker opened up about how vulnerable it was to portray Tess’s coming out scene in This Is Us.
As part of the Blavity Original/Shadow and Act Rewind the Scene series, Baker talked about the scene and how she felt trying to portray such a vulnerable part of Tess’ life.
“I was nervous about crying but I was also nervous because I wanted to portray Tess right and do the scene justice,” she said. “I really just wanted to make sure I captured the right emotions and captured what she was going through correctly. I didn’t do all of that research for nothing, so I was really hoping to use it to my advantage…I didn’t want to misinterpret her.”
She said a director told her that one thing actors do to prepare for scenes is to write in a journal as their character. She took that advice and was able to figure out how Tess would feel in this situation of coming out to her parents.
“I wrote in my journal as Tess and kinda just played it out, the emotions that I think she would hbe feeling…the fear and the happiness and probably just…the relief that she got when the scene was over,” she said. “I took a lot of experiences tht I read from other people and I put it into Tess and kinda made it her own.”
She also sought the advice of her on-screen dad Sterling K. Brown because of the various teary-eyed scenes he’s had to do.
“When I was on set I talked to Sterling because Sterling is always crying in every scene on the show every scene on the show and I was like I really want advice because I’ve never cried on camera before. I’ve never been vulnerable [on camera],” she said, adding that he told her some of his techniques, like using music or thinking of someone or a place that brings the emotions out.
Baker said the scene “couldn’t have worked out a better way” because of how supportive everyone was on set, including Brown and Baker’s on-screen mom Susan Kelechi Watson.
“As I was doing the scene, it almost felt like they were my actual parents as they were nurturing me on and off camera,” she said. “As Tess, I just felt so loved and I can imagine that this was a really big fear of hers, that they weren’t going to accept her. So as they were being so accepting, it almost made Tess…feel more comfortable to talk about it with them even more.”
Watch the full video below.